BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Fraser Fyvie feared his League Cup final dream was in tatters after crumpling to the Cappielow turf with medial knee ligament damage.
The 22-year-old was caught by a clumsy challenge from Morton youngster Jai Quitongo – son of mercurial former Hearts winger Jose – in the dying embers of their 1-0 win in Greenock on February 2.
He knew it was a bad one. As Fyvie notes himself, “usually a medial is six to eight weeks” and he was initially sure he would miss out on the Hampden showpiece.
However, he has made a prodigious recovery and, driven on by the prospect of a miraculous return against Ross County, he is winning his race to be fit for the final.
He trained under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coach Paul Green during the media access to Hibs’ training camp in the Costa del Sol on Tuesday afternoon and was showing no ill-affects as he carried out work with the ball and made sharp twists and turns to test his knee.
With Dylan McGeouch already ruled out, Fyvie is very much under consideration by Hibs head coach Alan Stubbs as he ponders his starting XI for Sunday.
“When it happened I thought I was out of the final,” acknowledged Fyvie. “Usually a medial is six to eight weeks and it has only been five week, but the club doctors and physios have been absolutely brilliant.
“The first time I thought I may make it was last Thursday when I started twisting and turning. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. It was probably more of a mind-set thing I had to get over.
“I had to tell myself to keep turning. But knowing there is a cup final coming up has driven me on. Of course it has. As a footballer you want to win trophies and medals. You want your team and club to do well – it was my target.
“The physios told me to target the cup final and if I don’t make it I will be back the week after. Hopefully this week goes smoothly and come Sunday I can say to the manager: ‘I am ready.’”
While the former Aberdeen youngster is winning his race to be fit, he was full of sympathy for fellow midfield schemer McGeouch, who has been ruled out due to a persistent groin complaint.
Hibs are struggling to get to the bottom of the cause of his fitness woes and Fyvie appeared genuinely upset for his teammate.
“I’m so gutted for Dylan,” continued a sombre Fyvie. “He’s had a few problems with his groin and it seems to come back after a couple of games. We are a close bunch and all the boys are gutted for him. He’s an important player for us and for him to be out is a big loss.
“Paul Hanlon is the same. The big man has been a rock this season, one of our most consistent performers. He’s good to have around. He’s a leader on the pitch and in the dressing room.
“But the boys who play on Sunday can go out and win it for them.”
Fyvie already has one major medal from his short career thus far. And it’s a cracker.
He claimed an FA Cup winner’s medal after being part of the match-day squad when Wigan defeated Manchester City at Wembley in 2013, albeit he failed to make it too the pitch on that iconic day for the Latics.
He does, however, admits that the experience was utterly soured when they suffered relegation from the Premier League just three days later following a 4-1 defeat against Arsenal.
This season, he is determined to turn the tables by allying at least one Cup triumph with promotion.
“It was the first year they moved the FA Cup final to before the end of the season,” recalled Fyvie. “So we won the FA Cup . . . and then we were relegated that midweek. We didn’t have a night to celebrate.
“It’s probably the worst thing I have ever done – not celebrating winning the FA Cup! We did have a night eventually but it’s not the same when you have been relegated. It took the shine off for me.
“I never played a lot but the feeling of being relegated is not something I want to experience again. It was the biggest up to the biggest down in a matter of days.
“This time round, it would be nice to win a trophy and then get promoted. And maybe even win another trophy after that! We don’t want to be stuck in the Championship again. We want to go up and that’s the main aim after Sunday’s Cup Final.”